ECE Funding Handbook

Welcome to the Early Childhood Funding Handbook. This Funding Handbook is issued under section 548(5) of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link). The funding paid to licensed services is paid subject to the terms and conditions set out under this Handbook and must be complied with. The terms used in this Handbook are based in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.

This Handbook is designed to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all you need to know about early childhood funding, including:

  • the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Funding Subsidy
  • 20 Hours Early Childhood Education (ECE)
  • Equity Funding
  • the Annual Top-Up for Isolated Services

Note: The information in the Funding Handbook does not apply to certificated playgroups. These services should contact their Ministry regional office for further information.

Downloading the ECE Funding Handbook

If you want a printed copy of this handbook, refer to the list of downloads in the contents section where you will find downloadable PDF versions of each chapter.

ECE Funding Handbook downloads

6-3 Attendance records

A symbol.  Books.  Checklist.

  • Introduction
    • An attendance record must be kept for each child attending the early childhood education and care service.

      Attendance records must be kept for seven years.

  • Records
    • Attendance records serve a number of purposes for funding. They:

      • support claims for funded child hours (FCHs)
      • support claims for quality funding rates (for parent/whānau led services) that require enhanced staff:child ratios
      • help keep track of absences so that the absence rules can be applied and
      • help keep track of hours of attendance that can be claimed for children attending casually.

      Attendance records also ensure that licence maximums are not exceeded.

  • Incorrect records
    • Services must not state that a child has attended an early childhood service when they did not attend for any reason.

      In the event of a funding claim audit, funding claimed incorrectly will be recovered by the Ministry.

  • Changes to records
    • Changes to attendance records must not be ‘whited out’. Changes should be made by crossing out the incorrect entry and rewriting.

      This will ensure that funding claims are accepted by the Ministry in the event of a funding claim audit.

      Services that keep only electronic records for recording attendance must use a software package or other electronic means of recording attendance that has provision for noting and referencing any changes in a manner that is transparent for staff, parents and the Ministry.

  • Records must include
    • Attendance records may be kept in a form to suit the service. However, all services must include all of the following:

      • separate sections or columns for children aged under two and for children aged two and over
      • the first and last name of each child, clearly identified
      • days and times of actual attendance for each child
      • a record of any absence, with an ‘a’ when a child does not attend at a time for which they are enrolled
      • when a child's attendance is casual or conditional
      • notes and explanations about attendance, such as when a child is away sick or has attended for more/less hours than they were enrolled AND
      • attendance registers that have been marked by staff on a twice daily basis (or once a day for services that operate only one session).

      Services must also keep evidence (e.g. a signed attendance register) that a parent/guardian of each child has regularly examined and confirmed the attendance record.

      This needs to be completed:

      Once a month for...Once a week for...
      • Sessional teacher-led centre-based services.
      • Parent/whānau-led services.
      • All-day teacher-led centre- based services.
      • Home-based education and care services.
  • Tip
    • Red lightbulb tip symbol.

      Daily sign-in/sign-out records are recommended as best practise.

      They are useful for:

      • recording days and times of actual attendance for each child (as described above)
      • keeping track of attendances by children who attend on a casual basis
      • keeping track of variations in attendance that might indicate a Frequent Absence (see section 6-7).
      • Meeting the attendance record requirement for “evidence that a parent/guardian of each child has regularly examined and confirmed the attendance record” for all service types.

      A template for sign-in/sign-out records is included in Appendix 2.